May 27, 2022

Keeping kids safe this summer: UW Health Kids offers water safety reminders

Madison, Wis. – Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer and that means kids will be spending more time outside, and in the water.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a pediatric safety advocacy organization, nearly 800 kids die from accidental drownings every year, making it the leading cause of preventable injury-related death among children between 1 and 4 years old.

Water activities like swimming and boating are fun ways for kids and families to spend the summer months, but they shouldn’t result in as many injuries and deaths as they do each year, according to Rishelle Eithun, child safety and injury prevention manager, UW Health Kids.

“Drowning is one of the most preventable causes of death in children,” said Eithun. “Families never think it could happen to them until it does. Thankfully, there are a number of things that parents and caregivers can do to ensure their kids are as safe as possible in and on the water this summer.”

UW Health Kids and Safe Kids Worldwide have the following recommendations:

  • Watch your kids in and around the water without being distracted. The reality is many drownings are silent, so having eyes on kids at all times is important.

  • Have your kids take swimming lessons. Teach kids how to swim in open water and in a swimming pool.

  • Have your kids wear a U.S Coast Guard-approved life jacket that is appropriate for their weight and water skill level. Seventy-seven percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those, 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.

  • Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. Discuss as a family how to respond to an emergency on the water.